Photo: David Buonaguidi / Twitter
A new safe cycling campaign calling risk-taking cyclists “stupid twats” has gotten attention and angered many.Ride-Smart.org, created by advertising agency Karmarama, offers tips for safely cycling in the city, using the slogan: “Ride Smart — Don’t Die Stupid.”
The site notes that about 19,000 cycling accidents are reported on English roads every year, resulting in 3,000 fatalities or serious injuries. “A percentage of these,” it says, are caused by “cyclists riding like twats.”
The campaign includes a series of videos, posted on YouTube, featuring examples of unsafe cycling. Each is accompanied by a limerick, some of them surprisingly graphic and violent (see below), and is punctuated with the line, “What a stupid twat.” Karmarama has also printed out the limericks and posted them around London.
While the campaign has certainly garnered attention, it has rankled some British cycling advocates, and not becuase it uses bad words. The problem, they say, is that it puts the blame for road accidents on cyclists, without addressing the need for drivers to use caution as well.
Mark Ames, a sustainable urban tavel advocate and editor of the blog ibikelondon, argues blaming cyclist stupidity is the wrong approach:
With over 3,000 cyclists injured and over 100 killed on Britain’s roads so far this year – some in the most awful of circumstances – I’m not sure how this finger pointing campaign describing the deceased as “stupid” and “twats” can be seen to be in anyway helpful.
It is unclear if Karmarama produced this campaign for a client; the advertising agency did not respond to a request for comment.
Ames also pointed to a 2009 study by the Transport Research Laboratory that found cyclists were to blame in only seven per cent of accidents. He is not alone in being angry with Karmarama:
Yes @karmarama, some cyclists are stupid, but the most common causes of serious injury are driver error. How about talking to them?
— Mike Pearson (@mikepearson) November 12, 2012
@karmarama Will you be doing a similar campaign for drivers telling them not to be stupid? And When? Ride-Smart is condescending at best
— Gary Dawes (@gazza_d) November 12, 2012
well you’ve got to admire @karmarama for uniting the entire cycling community … against them
— Sally Hinchcliffe (@sallyhinch) November 12, 2012
Not all of the reactions on Twitter have been negative:
— Kilburn Mat (@MatofKilburnia) November 12, 2012
Here’s one video produced by Karmarama:
And two of the limericks in question:
Photo: YouTube Screenshot
Photo: YouTube Screenshot
Updated: Karmarama has removed the content from Ride-Smart site, and replaced it with an apology:
We’re very sorry for the offence caused by our efforts to create debate around the critical issue of cycling safety.
We’re hugely pro-cycling and wanted to do something that would highlight the plight of cyclists on the road, as well as open up a debate about some of the less smart practices a minority of cyclists follow, like jumping red lights.
Again, sorry for the offence caused, it won’t happen again.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.